Did you notice the trees swaying in the breeze the last time you were outside? Did you observe the gentle movement of leaves and flowers? It’s certainly easy to get so caught up in our thoughts that we miss the beauty in our midst. If you can relate to this, the presence of trees and flowers offers you an ongoing opportunity to cultivate greater mindful awareness by observing the movement of trees, leaves and flowers. Florida means “land of flowers” and with research pointing to the physical, cognitive, and psychological health benefits of mindfulness, the elusive Fountain of Youth may be closer than you think.

Mindfulness blossoms as the line thins between being present for our experience and realizing that we are present. Of course, we are always present. Phrases like “Be Here Now” remind us of this perennial truth. Books like “The Power of Now” (Eckart Tolle), “Waking Up (Sam Harris) “Wherever You Go, There You Are” (Jon Kabat-Zinn, “The Gift of Presence” (Caroline Welch), and “Present Moment, Wonderful Moment” (Thich Nhat Hanh) offer insights to more deeply appreciate this reality. And mindfulness practices help point us in this direction.

We don’t always see what is right in front of us (think food in fridge, cell phone by the bed, and so on). It’s not that our eyes are not taking in and processing these images; they are. It’s that we are mentally somewhere else; our attention has been hijacked or we’re or caught up in an internal dialogue. At such times we are no longer seeing clearly what is before us.